“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crispy, and go well with ketchup”
WARNING - LONGBLAWG, DAWG. Hold on to ya butts.
This playthrough has been a pretty cool one, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I had a realization while fighting Humpty and Dumpty. As with most players, these are the two guys that give me the most amount of trouble. First, there are two enemies to keep track of in an arena, so you have to split your focus. Second, Brolaire [Brolaire: officially a word according to Google Docs] is absolutely no help. Third, the spot is an invasion hotspot, so you have to be human, fight off the knights, make it to a summon, summon them, pray for no invaders, then you have to actually, you know, kill Jay and Silent Bob. I was in a weird mood this playthrough though because I figured aw hell, I could take on Mario and Luigi without any summons, and without doing any leveling. And I decided to take a new strategy and tank them. It was during these fights (I think I won in the 4th round) that I realized that you have to fight the bosses in Dark Souls on their own pace. You have to be able to wait out certain moves in order to get the perfect time to strike, and the best fights against these bosses take the longest. I basically spent most of the first round luring Tweedle Dee into sitting in the middle of a me-and-Tweedle-Dum sandwich so that I could look up Ornstein’s skirt in the second.
In the DLC side of things, I had a few things to wrap up, but I wasn't quite sure where to start. I saw a shiny dangling on someone’s corpse on my way to the depths of hell, so I figured that would make a good place to stop. I have to say, the township enemies are significantly easier going backwards, as the sorcerer’s placements are much worse this way around. It was in this search for mcguffins that I discovered a chest laying on the ground, and I did what I do whenever I see a chest: Plunge my pubesword [google update: Pubesword. NOT a word] deep into its cavity in what can only be described as a severe case of avarice induced vagina dentata. Instinct did in fact prevail, and the mimic was done before he could even stand up. And he dropped....a key! Oh yeah! I remember that door! I realized I forgot to mention how I died at the end of day 1, mostly because it was in the most embarrassing way possible. See, after you fight Artorias there is a little balcony, and after that balcony there is a hole. This hole leads to a hallway that is clearly carpeted, the fall into which is about half the distance of much less lethal jumps. So after killing the Great Artorias of The Abyss, I killed myself by jumping into a hole in the ground. Clearly, exploration is not my forte. More importantly, this is right next to a locked door.
Uh, lets see. There's a pony down there. And your parents!
What could be inside this door? According to the graffiti left by some hoodlum on the ground, a boss. Welp. This should be fun. Another ladder, and I was introduced to...Hawkeye Gough. Gow? Go? Gock? Turns out it’s Go. Sweet! And he happens to have a big ass bow by him. Hey buddy, can I ask you a flava...? Turns out he is a merchant, but he sells the best item in the fipping game: a wooden thing that you throw and it says “hello” in Gough’s voice (which sounds like Andre the Giant in Princess Bride). It has infinite uses. And not, like, as an item, but in the game. Troll darkwraiths! Introduce yourself to bosses! Project your voice down pits! It is my goal to introduce myself to the remaining 6 (I think) bosses left in my world! Well, now that I have met Vincent van Gough, maybe he will shoot down that dragon when I am in the basin...
I really am an optimist.
"Whats the weather like up there?"
Look, you have a bow...there’s a big ol’ dragon flying around, and I know that used to be your schtick. I know you are in charge of those two assholes camping outside the windows causing everyone grief in Anor Londo, and they use Dragonslayer arrows so cut the bullsh...oh, you will shoot him? Thanks, buddy! Look, now there’s even a fog gate in front of the little basin! That means there is a boss! Yay. Optimism. Wait, what did I just say about optimism? Oh, I’m sure that won’t be related.
FROM: Soft (see what we did there)
RE: Gaping Dragon
BODY: Dearest Taterchimp,
NetZero? Realy. 1993 is calling, they want their internet back. Weirdo. Anyway, we wanted to formally apologize for how terrible the gaping dragon was as a boss. We realize it was our error to sent a dragon out to try and kill you whose main attack is indigestion. This gives all dragons a bad name, so we wanted to try to make amends for this obvious oversight. To make up for this, we offer to you the most kickass dragon fight, and one of the top five fights in Dark Souls.
Praise the Sun,
Didn't I last see you with a donkey of some sort?
What I am trying to say is holy hell this boss is amazing! Let’s do the usual, and go by the blow by blow breakdown. I entered the sizable arena, and see the beast before me. It opens by breathing out its signature dark flames, which I attempt to block. BAM. Half my health and all my endurance gone. Duck, estus. Alright, what did I say last time when fighting Manus? Big boss = adapt SDFP. For those unfamiliar this stands for Standard Dragon Fighting Position, the back left/right corner of the dragon. This removes the threat of the face, front haunches, and fire from you, and all you have to do is manage the tail and the back legs, along with any body slams. Unfortunately, this boss is slightly too fast at turning to really allow any good positioning in this area. After some basic melee moves, she - I’m assuming gender, and I am assuming it as female because gaming needs strong female characters, and I don’t want to come off as a chauvinistic pig - she flew into the air, and breathed down some hot death onto the ground, which took me out. Okay, lesson learned. And what have we learned from previous attempts? One practice run, one kill. Lets do this!
Round two: flying tail slap, after being debuffed (I assume)
Round three: she can breathe fire after flying past me? What bullshit.
Round four: WOMBO COMBO - breathed fire, while I was staggered, breathed fire on me. I wonder if she can hit me if I climb back up the ladder...
Round five: ...Clever girl.
Round six: EAT ALL THE DICKS, DRAGON.
Round seven: Three hits short of victory, but I loooooooove this battle.
Round. Eight. This boss is fantastic. First of all, she has all of the health. All of it. Upon further research, I would need to hit her around 30 times in order to get a kill. Compare this to Pinwheel who took two hits. This fight is a slog. Lets see if I can recall all the moves:
Head swipe (x2 optional). The head swipe is the basic melee, can be blocked easily. If in the right position after the double version, you can punish twice.
Temper Tantrum. This only hits you if you are taking shelter underneath her, so...dont. Punishable once.
Flying teabag - flaps wings once. Dodge left. Not punishable.
Flying cafe au lait. flaps wings once, but doesn’t teabag. Immediately follows up with sweeping magic. This move pissed me off the most. The magic, if it connected, would deal about 70% of my health. It looks 90% like the teabag. If you are to the far right, you can roll past it, but you won’t be. If you are lucky, you can roll under it, but you won’t be lucky. Much to my embarrassment I discovered somewhere in round six that A. I could block and only take about 10% damage, and B. You could just back up to avoid it, at most ranges. After round two, I just kind of assumed tanking wasn’t going to work, so I decided to try to be more mobile. This was good advice against every other move, but didn’t apply here.
Cone of Flame - roll left/right. Has a looooong reach, and does several hits. You can tell she is going to do this when she starts breathing fire at you. Try to dodge that.
AoE - Flaps wings twice. After flap one, roll back twice. This is your best shot to chug an estus.
Sweeping flame - shoots right to left. If you can charge in you can punish twice.
Flaming Front - rears up on hind legs, and breathes fire in front of herself. Roll backwards once.
Bad Luck and Misfortune Will Infect Your Pathetic Soul for All of Eternity - This has the same tell as the flaming front, so it is easy to remember to doge. This lifts you up in the air, does some damage, and appears to debuff you somehow.
That makes about nine attacks that are possible. While reading the signals for those, you also have to position yourself so you aren’t stuck in a corner, or backing off a ledge. Then you have to remember to SHOOOT HER (3 Jurassic Park references to commemorate the 3D re release). after some of the attacks. By round six, I had learned all of the attacks, dodges, and punishes, so I just had to put it all together. The problem was that the fight went on for such a long time (it felt like ~10 minutes, which is a year in Dark Souls time), that I would often lose the tell for each attack, and would eat a large chunk of life. However, when it all came together, it was a thing of beauty. I honestly think I could manage to do that fight without taking a hit, and actually enjoy it. This fight is the PERFECT representation of what Dark Souls is to me - you are placed as this tiny, insignificant spec, in the middle of a world of Gods and Demons, and you have to take down a beast that can kill you if you make a single misstep. But at the end of the day, the fight is completely fair. No attack is cheap, unavoidable, or unpredictable. If you are watching the fight, and letting the boss dictate the pace of the battle, you can take it down with grace and elegance. What. A. Fight. And what is your reward for all of this? A ring. A ring that doubles all damage you would take. Fromsoft, you beautiful bastards. I COULD HAVE USED THAT WHILE FIGHTING HER YOU JERKS. Gawd!
Only because I didn't have the 'middle finger' gesture.
With that, I was satisfied with my time spent in Oolacile. Well...almost satisfied. You see, there are two things left in this world that I didn’t kill, and I cannot let that stand. One last challenge before I go.
This felt pretty good, but not nearly as good as killing that dragon.
With that, my time in the DLC comes to a wonderful close. I said my goodbyes to Gough, who gave me a bow for my troubles, and helped bring a mourner of Artorias to peace. Overall, that was an incredibly rewarding experience, even if it didn’t give my character any rewards outside of some levels. Now I can finally get back to what I do best...giving Darkwraiths sword boners!
I am excited to finish up with this character so I can begin on the next three characters lined up: Simon Belmont, Balrog (Boxer) - an aside on this one, fighting the Gaping Dragon with only a cestus is hilarious. His little head becomes a speedbag - and a dex based spellsword. And if you made it to this part of it, bless your heart, because it sure feels like I spent a while writing it, so I appreciate you sticking with me! See ya next time, space cowboy.